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Poetry in motion: Woosh Kinaadeiyí slam plans monthly relocation

Posted: February 16, 2012 - 12:02am

The Woosh Kinaadeiyí Poetry Slam will soon be coming to a venue near you.

As of last month, the slam, held at the Canvas Community Art Studio every third Friday since October 2010, will be held in a different place each month. Last month it was held at the Rookery, this Friday it will be held at Thunder Mountain High School, and next month it will be held at the downtown library.

Christy NaMee Eriksen, who co-organizes the event with Na Haan, said she hopes the rotating venue will help increase the network of people involved. The slam has grown to be very popular, attracting between 75 and 100 people each month, and Eriksen said she’s excited about the possibilities for expanding its reach even further. She hopes to attract people who have never heard of the slam, as well as those who’ve wanted to come but needed a little nudge to make it happen.

“We’re really excited about moving around town,” she said. “We’re hoping to pick up audiences that we haven’t met yet, ... and whatever audience that particular venue serves. So at Thunder Mountain High School, we’re hoping to pick up more youth, and when we go to the library there’ll probably be a whole circuit of people that follow library events that we’re not accessing right now.”

The Thunder Mountain slam, organized with help from TMHS teacher Kristen Garot, has already picked up some student involvement -- students designed the poster and will be helping out with slam judging. Eriksen said she hopes students from both high schools will be encouraged to attend.

The core structure of the event will remain unchanged: Participants can sign up for a slot beginning at 6 p.m., open mic starts at 6:30 p.m., and the slam competition at 7:15 p.m.; participants should bring at least three poems to present. There is room for eight people read during the open mic portion and eight to participate in the slam. All ages and all abilities are welcome.

Eriksen and Na Haan, who both usually perform a poem at some point during the night, have kept the format as open as possible. Though original works are usually presented, recitation has also been part of evening in the past.

“We’ve had people recite work by do Joy Harjo, Dr Seuss, or a story their mom used to tell them,” Eriksen said. “We’ve had people do songs — original songs and also covers — and I’ve been really excited to see that musical element come in to the open mic.”

Eriksen also hopes to encourage more participation in the organizational aspects of the event.

“Na Haan and I are still the main co-orgainzers, but at the last slam at the Rookery we announced that we would like to build up a bigger organizing team. So we asked people to sign up if they wanted to be volunteers,” said Eriksen, adding that participants have already stepped up to help with distributing posters and with media outreach.

Organizers plan to schedule the slams a few months in advance, so people can plan ahead and stay informed about where the event will be on any given month.

The easiest way to find out more — besides heading out to Thunder Mountain on Friday — is to check out the group on Facebook online (search for Woosh).

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